How to reduce Australian Cattle Dog shedding (Best tips)

If you own an Australian Cattle Dog you are probably no stranger to dog fur in the house and on the furniture. A Blue Heeler or any double-coated breed, can not be completely stopped from shedding. However, there are ways that it can be greatly reduced.

Some Blue Heeler owners consider shaving their dogs to try and stop the constant shedding and to keep them cool. Please don’t.

There are ways to reduce the amount of shedding and fur they leave around the home. Shaving them is not one of them.

Shaving the coat can have the opposite effect. The dog will still shed but it will be shorter hairs. As the coat grows back it tends to be thicker and results in more shedding. As clipping changes the quality of the coat it often hinders the proper shedding function.

To learn more about shaving an Australian Cattle Dog see here.

Do Blue Heelers shed a lot?

Like most double-coated dogs, the Australian Cattle Dog is a moderate to heavy shedder. The amount they shed can depend on the individual dog, the climate where they live, whether they are indoor or outdoor dogs if they are desexed, and the overall health of their coat. Some Australian Cattle Dogs even shed all year round.

Usually, a Blue Heeler will do a major shed twice a year as the weather and seasons change. This is when the coat is coming out in clumps and is known as a blown coat. Some Blue Heelers may only blow coat once a year while others may just continuously shed all year round.

A neutered male Blue Heeler often will only have a major shed once a year. An unspayed female will usually shed after they have been on heat. This is generally done twice a year. When a female dog gets older they come into season less often. Female dogs don’t have menopause as such but just come into season less frequently.

How to reduce Blue Heeler shedding

There is no magic wand you can wave and stop a double-coated dog like a Blue Heeler from shedding. In fact, you will never be able to completely stop shedding. However, there are ways that you can reduce the amount of fur your Blue Heeler leaves around the home or on your clothes and furniture.

Reducing shedding doesn’t just reduce the amount of fur they drop, but is actually for their benefit as it helps keep them cooler and keeps the coat healthy.

Regular brushing

The most important thing you can do to reduce Blue Heeler shedding is to brush them regularly. Brushing redistributes your dog’s skin oil into the fur. This helps it to stay in place and keeps the coat healthy. You should brush your Australian Cattle Dog daily when the coat is blown. For other times, twice a week will be sufficient for maintenance.

There is quite a range of brushes and deshedding tools available and this can get quite confusing. It is important to use the right brush for the job as this will make it easier for you and give the best results. Different brushes work better on different dogs even those of the same breed. It is a good idea to have a couple of options to figure out what will work best on your Blue Heeler

Be careful when brushing our Blue Heeler not to press too hard and brush too much in the same spot. This can cause brush burn to the skin. It is best to not use more than a dozen stokes in the same area.

For recommended brushes and shedding tools for a Blue Heeler see below.

Bathing a Blue Heeler

Regularly bathing your Blue Heeler during times of heavy shedding is a great way to get a lot of excessive undercoat. The best frequency for bathing them is between two to eight weeks. Using a de-shedding shampoo like this one will also assist to loosen and remove more coat.

After the bath, towel dry them with firm but gentle rubbing as this will also help remove the loose coat. You can then blow dry them and gently brush them as you do. Don’t over-brush when they are wet or damp as this can cause brush burn.

Once they are fully dry give them a full brush all over. You may find they are losing more coat for a few days after the bath, but this will reduce.

I highly recommended getting a small dog blow dryer for your Blue Heeler. This will help to blast out and loosen a lot of the dead undercoat. This will save you a lot of time and effort with the brush. You don’t need a big commercial dog force dryer for a Blue Heeler.

I would recommend something such as these low-cost dryers which come with two airspeed settings and three heat levels (no heat, medium, and high), and several easy to attachment nozzles to increase airflow.

View small inexpensive dog blow dryers on Amazon.

Once they are fully dry give them a full brush all over. You may find they are losing more coat for a few days after the bath, but this will reduce.

High-quality diet

Diet can have a significant effect on how much a dog sheds. A high-quality diet keeps your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Dogs with food allergies or sensitivities are particularly prone to diet-related shedding. 

Adding additional oils such as salmon oil, flaxseed oil, or olive oil to your Blue Heelers diet aids in skin and coat health. One teaspoon (5 mL) per 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of body weight is a good place to start. These oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that help calm inflamed skin, decrease dandruff, and improve overall coat texture.

Always provide fresh clean water for them. Dehydration can lead to dry skin, which can cause excessive shedding. Learn more about dog hydration here.

Best brush for an Australian Cattle Dog

Having the right tools for the job will make brushing your Blue Heeler easier and more effective. I recommend having a good slicker brush and some type of de-shedding brush.

Slicker Brush for Blue Heeler

A slicker brush is a pin brush used to dress a dog coat. This puts a shine on the coat and helps to loosen tangles and break the coat up to allow the other tools to finish the job. Give your Blue Heeler a brush all over using a slicker brush to prepare it for deshedding.

If you try to just get stuck in with a de-shedding tool and there are tangles,r debris in the coat it will pull and hurt them. You will also collect a fair amount of undercoat in the slicker brush.

I like to use a self-cleaning slicker brush like this one on Amazon as it makes it easy to remove the fur from between the pins. If you have ever stabbed yourself in the fingertip or under the fingernail with the pins on a slicker brush you will know why.

UnderCoat Rake

A good quality undercoat rake is an absolute must for deshedding a Blue Heeler. These work really well to remove undercoat even in areas that are thick and bulky.

View the Mars Undercoat Rake on Amazon.

Long Tooth Rake

If your looking for a more budget-friendly de-shedding tool this is ideal. Probably not quite as effective as the tool above but still does a good job.

View Long tooth rake on Amazon.

FURminator De-Shedding Tool 

The Furminator is probably one of the best-known de-shedding tools on the market. These work ok but I don’t find that they remove as much coat as the undercoat rake above. They can also cut the guard coat a little and don’t leave such a nice finish.

View Furminator on Amazon.